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Russia May Give Loan for Bank of Cyprus Stakes, Alithia Says

July 16 (Bloomberg) -- Russia informed Cyprus that it’s ready to grant a 5 billion-euro ($6.1 billion) loan if Russian shareholders are allowed to increase their stakes in Bank of Cyprus, Alithia reported.

Russian billionaire Dmitry Rybolovlev, former owner of fertilizer maker OAO Uralkali, has discussed increasing his stake in Bank of Cyprus with the Cypriot government, the Nicosia-based newspaper reported today without saying where it got the information.

The move could take Rybolovlev’s holding above 9.9 percent, requiring permission from the Cypriot central bank, Alithia reported.

A Russian Finance Ministry official said the Alithia report was inaccurate. The official, who spoke on condition of anonymity in line with ministry rules, declined to elaborate. Sergey Chernitsyn, a spokesman for Rybolovlev, declined to comment when contacted by Bloomberg News.

Rybolovlev’s Odella Resources Ltd. owns 5.01 percent of Bank of Cyprus, according to the lender’s website. Rybolovlev is behind Odella, Bank of Cyprus said in 2010.

To contact the reporter on this story: Stelios Orphanides in Nicosia at sorphanides@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Craig Stirling at cstirling1@bloomberg.net

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